NARFE debuts retirement ticker to show federal brain drain


How to dramatize the largely hidden loss of experience and expertise as federal workers call it quits?

Here’s the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association’s solution:  On its web site, the group has built an online ticker  that seeks to track the impact of that exodus down to the hour. Based on Office of Personnel Management data, NARFE calculates that the nation has lost an average of 10,000 years of federal worker experience every day since Jan. 1. It also suggests that the current political and fiscal climate is not inconsequential.

“Sure, people retire,” the group says on the site. “They deserve to. But why are we losing waves of valuable federal workers in 2013? Could it be because of proposals in Washington that freeze federal worker pay year after year, furlough workers with families and threaten to tear down the benefits that federal workers earned?”

What do you think, readers? Could it?


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  1. The federal government has tons too many people employed and is doing the right thing by getting rid of excess people. The statement of 10,000 years of lost experience since Jan 1st sounds like a political far fetched statement.

  2. Roy,
    “Tons too many people employed”? Your statement is no better than “the 10,000 years”. Just cut smartly. When ever jobs that directly service the public are cut we all lose. It never changes; when cuts are made, the grunt jobs are the first to go instead of the do-nothings at the regional and national level where the true fat really is. The political appointees (the yes men and women) and their yes men and women should be the first to go…

  3. I retired last December. Before retiring, I worked for a Navy Lab doing research and development (R&D). Many of the best employees have already left government employ. None that I am aware of trained replacements. Some retired. Some went to work for contractors. It will be difficult to restart government R&D due to lack of expertise. Overbearing government regulations are also a significant impediment. Consequently, in the future, much of the R&D work will be shifted to contractors.

  4. The Defense downsizing that started in the late 1980s (recall the first BRAC was in 1988) created a personnel bathtub. My last organization had plenty of people with 30 years and with 10 years, but there was a trough in the middle that represented the years we had RIFs and didn’t hire anyone.

    We can’t replace overnight the boomers who retire. It takes years to master the budget cycle, because each part of it only happens once a year. To be a master, you need to have gone through up years and down years. Those who have come into the government since 9/11 have no experience with down years in DoD.

    I want my bomb tech to have experience, just as I want my surgeon to have experience.

  5. Why all of the fatalistic rhetoric? I have learned long ago that no one person will make or break an organization. If one, or even a few, employees retire or move to other employment, others will move to and rise to the occasion. The organization will survive and it’s core functions will continue unabated. The theory of “brain-drain” due to employee departures is highly over-emphasized because there is always someone else willing and able to replace them. It’s my experience that many people who are eligible to or close to retirement eligibility are less productive and view their positions as entitlements as a result of their longevity within Government service. So if this aging workforce were to retire or depart, there would be little to no impact upon the organization or Government service as a whole.

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